Coverage for One: How Disability Income Insurance Can Help Protect Unmarried Workers if Disaster Strikes


The economic downturn has caused many Americans to take a hard look at their financial lives – with many recognizing the need to adjust both their spending and savings habits to reduce debt and build a “rainy day fund” while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. But for many unmarried Americans with only one source of income to depend on, a sudden disability or illness could prove to have a disastrous income on their finances, wiping out all of that hard work.

Almost one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will have a disability before reaching age 67 – underscoring how disability income insurance can be an essential part of a personal financial safety net. And while many people believe disabilities are the result of an accident, the majority of long-term absences from work are due to illnesses. Since most causes of disability are not work related, they would not be covered by workers compensation.  In addition, people should not assume Social Security benefits will be available in their situation -- Social Security disability benefits are not available if an individual expects to be out of work for less than a year.

Protecting Your Wallet

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According to MetLife’s 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends, released in March 2011, more than half of unmarried women and a third of unmarried men who are also primary wage earners are living paycheck to paycheck.  What happens when that income abruptly stops?  The study found that only 41% of these unmarried workers have protected their income with disability income insurance.

For many single workers, budgeting for essentials like food, utilities and rent or mortgage payments can be a challenge under ideal circumstances, but the budgeting process can become virtually impossible if you are physically unable to earn a steady paycheck. Disability income insurance replaces a portion of income when you are unable to work for a period of time due to an illness or injury, allowing you to keep food on the table and a roof over your head until you’re able to return to work.

While helping cope with daily essential expenses, disability income insurance also helps prevent the need to prematurely tap into retirement savings. With single workers having just one income available to contribute to retirement savings accounts, disability income insurance helps to maintain those valuable savings for later in life by reducing or eliminating the need to withdraw money to cover expenses.

Tips about Purchasing Disability Insurance

Tip #1 – Start at the workplace. Many employers offer some type of disability coverage, so see what is available to you at the workplace.  However, the amount of income protection available through group benefits alone may not be enough due to the amount of income being replaced, potential benefit caps and types of income covered. It is important to determine the percentage of income your  plan covers and supplement if needed.

Tip #2 – Make sure you know what percentage coverage is offered. The general recommendation is to have enough disability income insurance to cover 60% - 80% of your after-tax income for paying your essential monthly expenses, and with only one income to rely on, securing the proper amount of coverage is crucial.

Tip #3 Determine your appropriate waiting period. Each disability policy comes with a set waiting period (or elimination period), meaning how long it will take before your benefits will begin. As you review your options, consider how long you can realistically go without receiving a paycheck. This should instruct the waiting period that you get on your policy – typically, the longer the waiting period, the lower the premium.


For information on MetLife insurance or other financial products and services, please contact: Kevin H. Kruse, ChFC,Financial Services Representative with Metlife Solutions Group,425 Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland, NJ, at 973-618-2399, or

Pursuant to IRS Circular 230, MetLife is providing you with the following notification: The information contained in this document is not intended to (and cannot) be used by anyone to avoid IRS penalties. This document supports the promotion and marketing of insurance products. You should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. The foregoing discussion is general in nature and not intended as specific advice. Neither MetLife nor its representatives are engaged in rendering tax, accounting or legal advice. A qualified professional should be consulted regarding the effect of such considerations on the matters covered in this publication. L0312244902[exp0313][All States][DC]




 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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